Minister visits landslip to see work being done to fix track

WORK Network Rail staff at Botley
WORK Network Rail staff at Botley

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A SENIOR minister visited the site of three landslips that affected a railway line and disrupted thousands of rail journeys to see the work being carried out to fix it.

Rail minister Stephen Hammond went to the site, just outside Botley, yesterday to visit Network Rail.

As reported in The News, the landslips happened on February 3 and meant trains could not run between Eastleigh and Fareham on the route via Botley and Hedge End.

Since then Network Rail has been working round the clock to get the line back into operation.

Mr Hammond said: ‘The work Network Rail has been carrying out to reopen the line around Botley has been impressive.

‘It undertook a massive engineering task just to prepare the site before it could start dealing with three separate landslips along one mile of track.’

The wet weather caused 15 landslips on the South West Trains network in eight weeks. Mr Hammond said the government intends to invest millions of pounds to prevent similar events.

He added: ‘Lessons are being learned from the extreme weather and I’ve asked Network Rail to examine how the network can be made more resilient.’

It is expected the line will reopen on Monday, March 17. Botley is on a branch line, but the landslips also impact on services from Eastleigh, Winchester, Basingstoke and Farnborough as it is the route to reach maintenance depots.